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Bearcats win streak snapped, still unbeaten in tie with Niagara

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VESTAL, N.Y. - If it was a boxing match it would've been stopped early. 

But after peppering Niagara with 16 shots and 11 corner kicks in the opening half, Binghamton women's soccer (3-0-1) gave up the first goal and then surrendered the tying goal late in regulation in a 2-2 draw with visiting Niagara (1-1-1) Monday night at the Bearcats Sports Complex.

Despite not cashing in on a dominant opening 20 minutes, BU was eight minutes away from posting a 2-1 win when the Purple Eagles forced overtime. The teams then played through an extra 20 minutes without any change.

"It was an unfortunate result," head coach Neel Bhattacharjee said. "Our pressure was good ... we were getting shots, corner kicks, and maintaining possession early on ... it just didn't translate into goals. Then we had a couple of defensive breakdowns, so we felt like this was one we let slip away. When our quality dipped and we got out of our rhythm, the game shifted. If we play within our game plan, we can be dominant and we showed that at times tonight. I loved the intensity and focus we had right from the beginning. We just have to take more pride in our finishing."

After absorbing the early onslaught from BU, Niagara scored on its first shot when against the run of play, Hailey Bicknell tapped in a cross that eluded a pair of BU defenders on the doorstep in the 25th minute. 

The Bearcats evened the score 12 minutes later when junior midfielder Patty Loonie and freshman midfielder Chloe Tracy provided the build-up and freshman forward Essie Bonney added the finishing touch to make it 1-1. Loonie fed a nice ball through to Tracy on the right and her cross was volleyed home by Bonney for her second goal of the season. 

It looked like BU would earn its fourth straight 2-1 win when they capitalized just 1:52 into the second half. Redshirt junior Kayla Saager, a constant threat on the attack, drove a left-footed shot that NU keeper Sabrina Locas scrambled to knock down. Freshman forward Genna Michitti pounced on the rebound and blasted home her first collegiate goal from close range. The assist was Saager's fourth of the young season.l

But the Purple Eagles cashed in at the 83rd minute when a through ball up the middle was converted off the left post by Kelsey Araujo.

Binghamton held a 24-11 advantage in shots and thanks to the 11 corner kicks in the first half, set the school record with 15 corners. 

Senior keeper Katie Hatziyianis made five saves, including a dangerous shot in the second overtime that she tipped over the bar. Hatziyianis also came out to smother a good NU scoring threat in the first extra period.  

Binghamton stays at home to host Fairfield on Friday night.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)